As part of our Enterprise Nation Membership, the team have taken part in several trade missions to various parts of the world with Enterprise Nation!
Here’s what we got up to.
Go Global Ireland
Made By Factory’s Danny & Andi joined Enterprise Nation on their first Go Global Mission in March 2016. We went to Dublin, Ireland on a mission that was designed to help people in the food industry. We work with a few foodies so we wanted to ensure our expertise was up to date.
Or did we just visit the Temple Bar? Find out..
We arrived in Dublin and met up with around 35 businesses on Thursday morning for the event. After a quick freshen up at the very nice boutique O’Callaghan Davenport hotel, we were whisked away by our lovely Welsh coach driver Danny to visit a few of the worlds biggest social media giants.
At Facebook, we had a nice lunch and a tour of their partners centre. Facebook explained how their advertising system works and how it can benefit your brand.
Their hardware is so clever, that when a piece of their data centre fails, it robotically re-engineers itself. Then it reprograms itself. Honest, we can’t make this stuff up! A visit to Facebook also encompassed their app Instagram, and some insights into the platform for advertising.
Next we jumped back on the coach and headed over to Twitter. There we were kindly treated to cupcakes and some insider information on how their advertising platform can help to grow your business or brand. Armed with killer tips and more, we set off to LinkedIn. Linkedin gave us loads of insights into their strategy.
Go Global to the Ambassadors House.
Next, we went to the British Ambassador’s residence for canapés and cocktails. We listened to some inspiring stories from former startups. it was a thought provoking day and we came away with a lot to process.
That evening tired and hungry but late, we gathered around the hotel bar and made some great connections, stayed up far too late and ate lots of Pizza with the Go Global team at Enterprise Nation and the other missionaries.
As Friday was aimed at delegates pitching their products to some of the worlds biggest food suppliers, Danny and I decided to sample some of the delights of Dublin & did a bit of shopping & sightseeing. We arrived back in time to have a chat with founder of the New Covent Garden Soup Co John Stapleton, drink some Guinness & have a final chat with some of the new connections we made.
It was such a worthwhile event for us. As a relative startup ourselves in the capacity of our team, we had a lot to reflect on. Getting your story right as a brand is something that cropped up on a few occasions. You may be great at what you do, but a brand is a story. Getting people to engage and follow your story is half the battle.
Go Global Amsterdam
Next, the Team embarked on an Enterprise Nation Mission. Go-Global Amsterdam.
We had the opportunity to visit large retailers and learn about how they conduct their marketing activity. We enjoyed a tour around KGMP offices, Iamsterdam store, De Bijenkorf, Made.com John Lewis. Next, we were treated to a reception where we met the local ambassador, then we learned about selling to Amsterdam. Oh, and we met some awesome homeware manufacturers.
So here’s a few of the companies we met: Goodordering: The East London Bag Company who found Amsterdam a great place to peddle those wares (pun intended) Uuni, The portable pizza oven and necessary addition to the outdoor cooking arsenal! We also met Copper Dust who creates gorgeous African inspired lamps and beautifully handcrafted illustrations. Then Orwell & Goode with their gorgeous homey fabrics and accessories. Here’s what Enterprise Nation had to say about the trip.
It was a pleasure to meet Anna Rigby who is a head buyer at John Lewis. She joined the mission to meet the brands and visit the John Lewis shop-in-shop in the department store at de Bijenkorf.
Anna offered three pieces of advice:
- Know your customer
- Love what you do
- Be a little bit pushy
I also had the opportunity to show Anna some of Matts Prints. She loved them and has promised to consider some for sale in John Lewis.
A few snaps from Go Global Amsterdam
Go Global Singapore
Co-founder, Andi Wilkinson, was asked by Enterprise nation to be part of a Go Global trade mission to Southeast Asia. The mission took twenty-five businesses to Singapore to explore international trade options. While in Singapore, the purpose of the mission was to:
- Gain an understanding of the creative technology landscape in Singapore.
- Learn the ins and outs of tax, legal, trade and also finance process and systems.
- Have an opportunity to make sales, connections and collaborations with local agencies, government representatives, accelerators and fellow mission-goers.
- finally to meet with other entrepreneurs who will share their learnings and successes.
The city was striking. To go so far across the world, a fourteen-hour flight and land practically on the other side of the world for me was quite daunting. When I arrived in an efficient, exciting and spotless city that alone should have been exciting enough.
First Class Treatment!
I arrived at Gatwick. We were met at the airport by managers at the Singapore Airlines lounge and treated to some first-class champagne and canapés! What a way to start our trip. It was a long and tiring flight, but I had already met with some of the delegates on board and my anxiety about travelling so far had subsided a little. Helped along by the wonderful hospitality of the airline stewards and a glass or two of something strong.
*Some preferential treatment & Rainy Singapore!
Arriving in Singapore it was grey and Rainy. Had I really left Manchester? After a quick freshen up, we went to our first destination, Muru-D. This was an incubating space with support for startups. We were told how many app and tech startup companies were up and coming in this city and how much sheer investment went into their support.
Singapore is a base to explore many markets in Asia. We explored the large and varied food markets for some excellent street cuisine.
We were bustled along to the KPMG Digital Village to learn about the Trade process in Singapore. I am sure our hosts got the short straw. We were truly flagging by this stage, having been up for so long. Listening to concise information on tax was a little more than most of us were able to process, but we had more coffee and soldiered on. That evening we had dinner, a drink or two and an early one.
Laska for breakfast
The next morning our hotel presented us with a delightful array of Asian cuisines. Laska for breakfast? I had two bowlfuls! Then, after looking at the cool innov8 space for startups, we had a few more stops. What I loved about this day was the fun afternoon we spent with Iris Worldwide. A big brand Agency. I have written more about that here. We were treated to another champagne reception by a large law firm, and then for anyone who wanted, Margaret Manning from Adelphi Digital kindly treated us to Chilli Crab. A Singaporean must have! It’s the first time I ate crab and it was delicious.
*You Gotta Try The Chilli Crab
Friday’s business was a little more relaxed. The morning started with tours of Singtel Innov8, Spring start-up-space. Next on to a look around Level3.
Our afternoon kicked off with a talk from the Economic Development Board & GeBIZ. Next, I joined the other missionaries in a Creative Afternoon with Iris Worldwide. There we attempted to solve a challenge with one of the world’s most creative agencies!
The programme included talks from experts working at HSBC, KPMG. Andi will hear from The UK-ASEAN Business Council & muru-D.
The final day in Singapore. Truly A Flying Visit
The third & final day of this mission to southeast Asia began with a talk from local entrepreneurs. I heard advice from experienced people, who’ve been there & done it. We gained top tips & advice on how to business in Singapore. This group of entrepreneurs included:
- Margaret Manning from Adelphi Digital.
- Tim Webb of Sequebb.
- Andrew Pickup from Microsoft.
- Steve Melhuish, founder at Propertyguru.com.
Listening to people who had made their life in Singapore work was truly inspiring. Notably Margaret Manning from Adelphi, our kind hostess from the evening before, and someone I aspire to be more like. Starting just like me, she is known for running her creative Agency in six Asian nations. It blew me away.
After a couple more stops, I enjoyed a gorgeous seafood lunch overlooking the river, with my new found associates and then I spent a wonderful afternoon with one of the missionaries enjoying a stroll around the botanical gardens and a cocktail or two at the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, vowing I would return with my husband and take that view in again.
The Amazing Botanical Gardens
Singapore is truly remarkable. Aiming to be the first Smart City in South East Asia, its a great starting point for anyone who wants to explore trade in the far east. Why do we say this? Primarily the first spoken language is English. I don’t want to come off like an entitled English person, but I had travelled so far. I had my ‘work in every country’ plug adaptor with me. When I got into the hotel and went to plug it in, the plugs were. English. Also, they drive on the left side of the road, which everyone knows is the right side to drive on.
The city itself is really small. A couple of days there and you recognise the buildings and know where you are going. Noteworthy to see is the incredible Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Botanical Gardens.
So, Singapore may not have given me a great deal in the way of business opportunity on this particular occasion, but it definitely enriched my life and I don’t think I have seen the back of it.
We would like to thank Emma, Harriet, Dan and the team for a fantastic & hugely informative trip & hope to Go Global again soon!
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